...or tries to...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

My Mother's House


In the house I grew up in there was a pair of antique ice skates, made of cracked wood and leather, hanging on a hook by the fireplace. I used to hold them, and think, a very long time ago a little girl wore these ice skates, she slid and slipped around on ice, and now she's gone, gone a long time, and they're here, and I'm holding them. They still had life, in a way. It was like that, in my house, in my parent's house. There were many things in there from the recent and the now: my father's paintings, the lamp made from the wallpaper roll he designed, pottery my Mom made and found, objects and furniture they bought together. There were old things, and things from far away: a heavy compass from a clipper ship, a paper silkscreen from Japan, a woodcut block from I don't know where. I think it was this merging of past and present that made the house both comfortable and mysterious. My mother's house here, far away from the first home, was moved into when it was new, but it's still filled up with old and new and the in-between, things from far away, things from our own lives that have become our history, the story of my father, who died a little over a year ago, and my Mom, who continues to animate it with her love.  It still carries our own stories forward.

A Tree of Life from Mexico
Six of my father's watercolors, of places he loved in Massachusetts, on Long Island, in Pennsylvania
Clay faces, human-
and cat.
Baby's hats from China, to fool the spirits.
A beaded purse my Mom carried with her on dates, that she just gave to me.
Her own collage of the sea, over her bed,
My father's tiny gouache of the ocean, near a picture of the Oliver.
My grandfather's pocket watch. I never knew him. He died when Mom was four.
A little girl,
and a star.


Daydreamer said...

Beautiful, Amy. Your Father was a real artist too! I am sorry for your loss. Your Mom knows how to fill her house with her heart. Thank you for sharing.

Sans! said...

I see that the apple does not fall far from the tree :). It's all in the genes :). Your parents have amassed quite a collection over the years. They are all fascinating but my favourite has to be your dad's paintings, especially the watercolour series over the sofa.

Looking around at your mum's home, I wondered again about the mortality of personal effects :). Especially as I am a collector myself. What will happen to all these things ? I read that museums were in fact started by aristocratic families in ancient Rome who kept artefacts as heirlooms. I guess to preserve the "life" in these things? And as you so eloquently puts it : so that this merging of the past with the present can be maintained in some way?

For me, I don't even know who will want my dollhouses when I am gone :).

Kids Virtual World said...

Great pictures and a awesome house with full of love.

Richele @ Studio D said...

It is such a thrill to see your Mom's highly personal home!! Love abounds!!

Amy said...

Sans, thank you. He could paint almost anything, but his watercolors were his most personal, I think. We loved all the places in the painting over the sofa, especially the town where the white schoolhouse sits. Mom and Dad honeymooned there, in Rockport, Massachusetts, and we went as a family every summer or fall.

I know what you mean, being a collector too. I don't have kids so I truly have no idea what will happen to my things-I just hope they all don't end up in junk shops. Though, actually, maybe that's not too bad, I find some nifty things I've grown to love that way. But if your dollhouses don't wind up in a museum or someplace special like that someday in the far-off future, then I don't know what would. They're exceptional works of art.

Thanks Kids Virtual World! And my Mom thanks you too.

Hi Richele! I'm so happy to have you by! Mom does have that magic home thing going, seeing her house is a bit like meeting her.